Transparency equals moderating prices?

When it comes to speed of doing things, I like Singapore. In a news report, it was announced that net prices of each individual units sold by developers would now have to be disclosed! Yes, in other words, if a buyer somehow gets a much higher discount or freebies or exemptions than all the rest, now everyone knows. In fact the world knows. So, if you are not getting the lowest possible discounts or freebies or exemptions, the developer better be ready to explain. Why is this so important one may ask. This is important because it makes every buyer equal and the access to critical information is now no longer hidden. Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said that this change will start within the first half of 2015. It is mentioned that once the URA releases all the net prices of individual units, the buyers would be able to have far more information in order to make their decision on. It includes even furniture vouchers given out by the developers! Oh yeah, we may now ask, what if the developers give out such vouchers but do not disclose it? I wish them best of luck because once found out, they may be facing a harder time than if they disclose and just give everyone the same vouchers in the first place. I repeat, this is Singapore. Don’t try.
Everyone knows during slower times, lots of things may happen. For example, first block might have been sold during better times and when the second block was launched, it was during a slower period. Cutting the prices of the second block is not advised, you may have hundreds of angry buyers at your office suddenly, from the first block. Thus, the developers would give some ‘special deals’. Furnitures, renovations, monetary exemptions and more. This is actually unfair to the buyers of the first block, right? Yes, this is the reason for this full disclosure based on individual units. Another reason for this disclosure is also for a better assessment of the actual market condition. It may be worst than what was thought but the developers would not want to tell you for fear of negative sentiments. Fortunately, it applies to only new sales. In other words, for the current ongoing ‘special’ deals, the developers can still proceed without any full disclosure yet.
There are lots of things we can learn from Singapore, when it comes to higher transparency. I certainly know of many ‘special’ deals given out to buyers from certain developers which I feel is unfair simply because the developers wanted to close the deal and the buyer happened to be someone who knows how to negotiate better or some other reasons. I do not mind if everyone pays the same but I certainly mind if the buyer of the next unit to me paid something lower and I found out later. Perhaps this piece of news should be reported more widely by the media in Malaysia. Alert the right people of this right measure which they can adopt in the near future. Please do not look at this as a just a pro-buyer move. In fact this move is also pro-developer because all the developers would now be on equal footing and no developers would have a slight advantage over others when it comes to attracting buyers. This kind of transparency may be what is needed to moderate the price increases as per reported thus far. In fact, the average prices being reported currently may not be true if it did not include the discounts, freebies by the developers. Happy buying, after checking the net prices.
written on 28 Dec 2014
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